Public test phase of Settlement
Scheme to start in January

From 21 January 2019, the next test phase of the EU Settlement Scheme will launch. This is the first time that the majority of EU nationals residing in the UK will have the opportunity to register under the scheme prior to Brexit.

This latest test phase allows all EU citizens holding a valid passport, as well as non-EU citizen family members in possession of a valid biometric residence card, to apply for their new immigration status. Opening up the scheme to a wider audience will enable the government to gain ‘valuable insight’ into how their system will cope when fully rolled-out in March 2019.

There have been two small, managed private beta tests so far. These have been broadly successful, despite some participants having problems uploading their information onto the mobile phone app.

Of the 15,500 EU Settlement applications filed to date, around 12,400 or 71 per cent have been concluded without a problem. Many of the participants received a decision within 24 hours. Successful applicants either acquire settled status if they have been resident for five years, or pre-settled status if they have been here for less than five years.

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said:

‘Securing the rights of EU citizens living in the UK has always been our priority.

‘We are well on track to deliver a system that will make it easy and straightforward for them to obtain status once we have left the EU and continue to live their lives much as they do now.

‘This is a completely voluntary test phase, which will give us valuable insight into how the system works and if any changes need to be made before the full launch.’

Under the draft Withdrawal Agreement, the estimated 3.6 million EU citizens living in the UK will have until 20 June 2021 to apply.

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